Whitaker Institute member Dr Michael Lang, of the Agile and Open Innovation (LERO) cluster, has written a new article for RTÉ Brainstorm. The piece looks at how can Irish sport deal with the toxic side of social media.
Opinion: the abusive social media commentary which occurs when fanaticism becomes toxic is causing huge problems for all sports
Sports organisations perform an invaluable function in Irish society. They promote positive physical and mental health and help young persons develop important life skills and attitudes, the benefits of which extend far beyond the field of play. For the greater part, these organisations depend on unpaid volunteers and amateur athletes who freely give of their time because of loyalty to their local clubs and communities, enthusiasm for sport, interest in youth development, the desire to give something back and social enjoyment.
But this spirit of volunteerism is coming under threat from the dark side of social media, which the secretary of the Connacht GAA Council, John Prenty, called “a major cancer” that is causing tremendous distress to sportspersons and their families. Similar sentiments were expressed by Kieran Leddy from the Munster GAA Council in January 2021, who said “while social media has its positive points, the unfettered ability of people, often acting behind pseudonyms, to direct sustained and vile abuse at individuals and organisations, is undoubtedly a major downside”. Continue reading…